Marc-Andre Fleury was playing like he wanted to win everyone donuts for a second straight game. On Sunday, he didn’t look like a goaltender that started 20 of the last 21 games for the Vegas Golden Knights. That was the case again Tuesday with Fleury stopping all seven Vancouver Canucks shots he saw in the first period.
Then, Malcolm Subban took the ice for the second period, and played admirably. He made 22 saves and gave up a fluke goal late in the third period, but he did well enough to give Vegas a 4-1 win at T-Mobile Arena on Tuesday, pushing Vegas 99 points with an important showdown looming in San Jose on Thursday.
But for as well as Subban played — his first action since Feb. 2 — and while understanding the importance of getting Subban valuable ice time before the Golden Knights embark on this thing called the playoffs, there’s one tiny, somewhat important question that needs to be asked:
What the hell happened to Marc-Andre Fleury? We have options.
Option 1) Rest. Fleury was in his 21st start in 22 games, Vegas has a three-goal lead against a bottom-feeder in Vancouver, Subban needs the minutes. Surely, this makes sense.
“No,” Gerard Gallant said after the game when asked if it was rest-related.
Option 2) Injury. Fleury took a puck to the mask at about the 10-minute mark of the first period. He wasn’t checked on by the trainers, made a couple more saves before the end of the frame and looked fine.
“I haven’t heard anything yet,” Gallant said when asked for an update on Fleury. “Trainers told me he’s not coming back tonight.”
Option 3) He wanted donuts before everyone else.
While the thought of Flower consuming a dozen hot, freshly glazed donuts from Krispy Kreme sounds like the ideal meal for the man who “takes pride” in bringing donuts to the good people of Las Vegas, alas, we’re it’s the worst-case scenario: Fleury is hurt again, and at the worst time.
Also, Malcolm Subban might have spilled the beans to friend of the site Ryan Wallis.
“Never want it to happen at the expense of an injury, I hope he’s doing ok.” - Subban on getting into game action in the second period. #VegasBorn— Ryan The Hockey Guy (@RyanHockeyGuy) March 21, 2018
What’s important is not how Fleury got hurt. The culprit is likely the puck off the stick of Brandon Sutter to Fleury’s Las Vegas-inspired mask. What the Golden Knights need to address, and do such soon, is the severity of whatever the hell is happening.
Was it precautionary? Fleury missed two months of the season with a concussion. A puck to the head would result in some morning headaches. Our buddies at SinBin reported, per a source, Fleury took a shot to the neck guard and this was a resting situation. Was it serious? Upon asking the Golden Knights’ communication staff for an update, the response was “standing by.” There was plenty of standing by to be had, but even they could not provide any follow-up. Maybe the process did take all two periods and no concise answer was had by the time the game ended. That’s how bizarre this whole thing is.
Whether they intended to or not, the Golden Knights have made this out to be a bigger deal than they would have liked. People will think the worst of this situation. Welcome to life as a playoff team. Either Fleury could be back for the road trip, or he’s out for an extended period of time and Vegas has to roll with the Subban/Oscar Dansk duo heading into the playoffs.
The story about this game should have been Vegas moving within one point from an unprecedented 100. It should be about another milestone that this team is on the verge of reaching. Instead, here the Golden Knights stand with nine games remaining in the regular season, their Stanley Cup hopes dangling loosely over the highest point of Red Rock Canyon — the end result being a loud, swift thud to the sharp ground.
If you’re sad, go buy some donuts.